As someone living with sickle cell, I often experience cold hands and feet. And this is because of poor circulation, which means blood doesn’t flow the way it should. Of course, this isn’t surprising considering the fact that anyone living with sickle cells doesn’t have enough blood in their system. The good news is that there are ways to increase blood circulation naturally, including using more of certain herbs and spices. You can also try taking certain vitamins and minerals or creating some new habits to improve blood flow. Let me start by talking about why good circulation is so important.
Why is blood circulation important for good health?
The circulatory system consists of many blood vessels that carry blood to and away from the heart. Blood is carried from the heart to the arteries and brought back to the heart via the veins. The heart starts the circulation process by pumping blood to the lungs to pick up oxygen and continues the process by pumping this new oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. To complete the cycle, oxygen-depleted blood is brought back to the heart to start the whole process all over again.
Circulating blood carries not only oxygen, but also water and nutrients to every muscle, organ and tissue in the body, including the brain, kidneys, liver and digestive system. In addition, blood carries certain waste products out of cells and organs. So, it plays an important role in detoxification.
The main role of the circulatory system is to transport oxygen throughout the body, deliver nutrients and hormones to cells and remove waste products such as carbon dioxide so that it can be exhaled through the lungs. One way to improve blood circulation is to look no further than your kitchen cabinets. Common herbs and spices like cayenne pepper, cinnamon, ginger and garlic are great for blood circulation and will warm up the blood in the process.
Best herbs for circulation:
Cayenne is a spicy herb that will warm your body while increasing circulation. It contains a compound known as capsaicin which is thought to be responsible for improving circulation and other benefits, such as lowering inflammation. Cayenne also supports heart health and can even help keep arteries clear. This eases congestion, especially in the sinuses.
Gingko Biloba is mostly known for its brain-boosting benefits, but it has also been used by herbalists to increase circulation for thousands of years. According to traditional Chinese medicine, Ginkgo leaves stimulate blood flow and improve circulation in the lungs. This helps remove stagnation that may be contributing to breathing problems.
Like Cayenne, ginger is a spicy herb that can improve circulation. As you know, ginger is also great for digestion and one of the most used herbs for nausea. Ginger also exhibits blood-thinning potential and since thinner blood is easier for the heart to pump, it can help improve blood circulation within the blood vessels.
Cinnamon is another spice that is naturally warming and stimulating, which makes it one of the best herbs for circulation. Cassia cinnamon tends to be warmer than real cinnamon, but both have the same benefits. In addition to increasing blood flow, cinnamon also helps with congestion and can stimulate sluggish digestion. A cup of cinnamon tea is great for circulation and digestion. Cinnamon can also be used externally for foot baths or for making massage oils with its essential oils.
Garlic can aid circulation as it helps prevent blood platelet aggression. It is also warming, stimulating and supports healthy cholesterol levels. Research has shown that consuming garlic cloves can help prevent clogged arteries.
Another way to improve blood circulation is to exercise. Exercise is one of the best and easiest ways to get your blood flowing. In fact, you may notice that you feel colder, especially your hands and feet, after sitting for a long time. This is because circulation is slower when you are resting. The best way to deal with this is to engage in regular exercise such as walking, jumping on a trampoline, dancing, cycling and any other exercise you feel your body can handle. Add this exercise to your daily routine to immediately improve circulation and also improve it in the long term.
Massage is a great way to stimulate circulation and decongest the lymphatics. Plus, it’s very relaxing and stress-relieving. For best results, opt for massage therapy by a professional but keep in mind that self-massage can also help improve blood flow. You can add essential oils like rosemary or sage for better circulation.
The final option I want to talk about regarding blood circulation is a bath with two or three drops of rosemary essential oil. Rosemary is an excellent circulation booster and is rich in anti-inflammatory properties.
Take the time to do proper research when taking this herbal supplement. Some herbs for circulation may not be the best choice if you take blood thinners or have other special medical conditions besides sickle cell anemia. Do your research before using it and consult a professional as necessary.
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